A case study of a start-up company was performed. The study analysed the New Product Development Process at the start-up. The start-up under investigation was Zyray Wireless, a start-up in San Diego California. Zyray makes processors for the next generation of mobile phones. The research done with the particular start-up company will identify what the differences are between generally accepted best practise methods and the best practise methods implemented by a particular start-up company. The study will therefore aim to answer the following questions. How does the product development process change over the life cycle of the company? How do the best practise processes implemented in the industry differ from those implemented during the life cycle of the company under investigation. Why does the company implement best practise processes at a specific time in its life cycle and not during other times? What percentage of best practise processes are accepted and implemented by the company, why were they chosen and why were others not. Multiple types of evidence were used including participant observations, documentation and surveys. The survey taken at Zyray was compared with the industry averages. Results were also obtained at three different points in time (Concept/Seed, Product Development and Market phases). By comparing these results with the industry results it was possible to gauge the differences between the industry and Zyray Wireless in general. Zyray Wireless scored above the industry average in the following categories: continuous quality improvement, product success, project success, cycle time improvement, customer involvement questions, project selection, product strategy questions, technological leadership and product goal questions. The best practises for metrics, human resource development, documentation and change control implemented by Zyray Wireless scored at or below the industry average. The best practise results showed that the start-up focused more on strategy and engineering and less on process control. The study revealed the following important points: 1. In the initial phases the start-up’s customers were the venture funds. 2. The project selection process was informal but driven by economic criteria. 3. The company discovered that it had to choose a product strategy early on and then develop the product according to this strategy. 4. Marketing created the design concept but it also influenced the future of the company because it dictated the company’s product strategy. 5. The company followed a technology follower strategy. The technological competency was of such a high standard that a product was developed after very few iterations. 6. The start-up showed that internal documentation was limited but that external documentation to clients and manufacturers had to be of a high standard. 7. The company showed that change control was limited to the engineering function. 8. The start-up showed that over-achieving on goals set by itself and investors was of critical importance. 9. The start-up showed that process control was kept to a minimum and that it could react very quickly to changing situations. 10. The start-up showed that the establishment of a strong team is of critical importance to the success of the company.
Dissertation (MSc Technology Management)--University of Pretoria, 2007.